Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 174 - Sat 11/7/98
2. NEW: What Equipment Do I need to Get Started
3. NEW: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap
4. RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough
5. RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough
6. RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough
7. RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough
8. RE: New Lapidary Templates
9. RE: Copyright Policy
10. BIO: Gerald Chadderdon
11. WTB: Cabbing Equipment
13. WTB: Switch for Highland Park Saw


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 174 - Sat 11/7/98

About the request for pictures of the lapidary piece you
are most proud of, I did not get overwhelmed by responses!
If you have a piece which you made and want to show on the
website, send a picture to me along with a write-up about
it (material, size, any pertinent construction facts), with
a picture of you and a BRIEF bio. You can show all our
members what you have done!

I'm sure we don't all subscribe to LapJour and Rock 'n Gem.
So how do you like this idea: What if we ran a letter after
each issue of those two magazines come out and just
reported on any lapidary stories or other items of interest
in them - sort of a 'what's new' letter? Would you like to
see that? Not an abstract of the articles, but rather just
a note that the articles are there and what they are about.
Or other lapidary news from the two magazines. ONLY
lapidary news. If any of you would like to volunteer to do
this for just one of these two magazines, I'd appreciate it
and I would help you get started. If so, lemme know.

Take care, stay safe, and have fun!


Subject: NEW: What Equipment Do I need to Get Started

First, I've been eavesdropping for a good long time and
what I've absorbed is very much appreciated. I thank you

I'm foremost a metalsmith, realizing only recently that I
have to cut my own stones, too. If I could trouble your
collective wisdom for advice on moving into the field?

I've tried out just enough cutting to know I'm capable, and
am struggling now with the question of how cheap I can go
for equipment I won't hate after 5 years of cutting cabs?
Do I need a fancy spindle thingy?

Will I hate myself if I buy a flat lap?? Am I really going
to cry if I don't have a half-dozen grits spinning in front
of me at all times? I'm after the knowledge you wish you'd
had right before you sank your life savings into equipment.

Dana Carlson

Subject: NEW: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap

I have seen several warnings that one should never allow
your vibrating flat lap to run dry but have never seen a
description of what happens if it does.

Having had my lap run dry several times without any serious
problem (I just add some water and reconstitute the sludge
in about 5 minutes) I am wondering what it is that is
supposed to be avoided. Apparently I have been lucky. What
exactly is the problem that I have been lucky enough to

Herb Luckert
221 Marquette Ave
South Bend, IN 46617

Subject: RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough


I would use what a stone mason would use on an end piece
of stone, make up a mixture of concrete; which would be
1/3 cement, 1/3 quartz pebbles and 1/3 sand by volume.
In this case, to spare the saw, I would omit the quartz
pebbles and do a 50:50 mixture of cement and sand. I
believe the material would be stronger, in this case..
The slab would have to be cleaned of oil, etc. for best
adhesion. Putting the materials in a carton is a good

Bruce Murray
noncommercial republish permission granted.

Subject: RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough

Let me add a note to Steve Ensor's suggestion for using
milk cartons and cement for slabbing end pieces of rough.
The technique as described works but leaves you guessing
where the end on the rough is. This in turn, can sometimes
give you a problem with the thickness of the last (or
first) cut. Here are a couple of ways around it.

When you place the rough on the first layer of cement, push
a toothpick through the side of the milk carton at the
level of the cement. You can now see where the end of the
rough is in the cement block.

Another way is to lay the milk carton on its side and
cut off what is now the top. Only fill the carton about 2/3
full of cement and push the rough into the cement leaving
enough of it showing to tell where to make your cuts.

With both of there techniques you can cut several pieces
of rough in one carton. This will also work with material
like rainbow obsidian that requires orienting and may be
hard to hold in the desired position.

I have also used sodium silicate (water glass) to "glue"
the rough to a block of wood. You adjust the saws cross
feed to leave the last slab on the wood and then soak the
wood overnight to remove the slab.

I have had problems with all of the above when trying to
cut smaller nodules like Botswana. For these I have had
better luck epoxying them to a block of wood.

Dick Friesen

Subject: RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough

I use sodium silicate (water glass) and glue the flat ends
of rough to a piece of 2 X 4. This is a trick I learned
from an old rockhound in South Jordan, Utah. Works great.
When I have finished cutting all I can, I just soak the
2 X 4 in water to remove any remaining material and use it
again. You can purchase sodium silicate from your local
Pharmacy. A quart of the stuff costs around $8.00.

Thanks for the forum Hale.

Non-commercial republish permission granted.

Subject: RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough

What I have found success with is gluing the end on a
wooden block with carpenters wood glue. Seems to adhere
just fine to rock, and offers several nice advantages.

First, it is quick, cheap and neat. Second, the very last
slab of the butt end (which will remain adhered to the wood)
can be quickly sliced off by cutting through the wood block
with a hand saw, band saw, etc..., and can be utilized as
well. Cutting right next to the slab (almost right through
the glue line) leaves very little adhered to the slab, and
it can easily be removed with a few quick passes on your
grinding wheel, belt, or disc without clogging it up.

I cut thick slabs of Septarian this way, and have not had a
chunk come unglued during sawing yet. The fresh cut when
removing from the block makes a nice fresh surface each time
for re-use of the block. When I am making thinner slices
with some material (thus making more passes on the saw), I
mark the front surface of the 4x4 post to ensure that if I
get tired of it and remove it for awhile, I can put it back
in the exact same orientation even if the glue was of uneven

On a side note, a thin, total encasement in cement (which
sounds like what you describe) also works great for orienting
those "hard to clamp" chunks which would be beautiful if you
could just cut them with the right orientation to best show
the pattern. Unfortunately, Murphy's Law says that the best
orientation will typically be the one way that you can't get
clamped in properly. The cement offers an answer to this.

Sorry for rambling a little. Hope this helps someone out


noncommercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: New Lapidary Templates

You can easily make your own template.

1st -- Scan the shape you want or use a graphic editing
program to design the desired shape and save as a picture

2nd -- I like to use a desktop publishing program to size
and layout the shape on a page but if your graphic program
has a good ruler that would do. Zoom in as much as possible
and use the ruler to get the desired size. Hold the shift
button while resizing the graphic to keep the proportion
correct. And just copy/paste/resize to your hearts content.

3rd -- Then get either printer paper that is sticky on one
side (it is used to make stickers on your computer) or get
some tacky spray adhesive and print on paper.

4th -- Stick your paper to some thin plastic or a sheet of
thin metal and cut or grind your out the holes.

The only problem I've found my printer is off 1/8" over 10".
For me, that's not even enough to worry about.

Dennis Chapman
Jim Chapman (

"Non-commercial republication rights granted."
Note: If anyone has any new shapes which you think others
would like to use, send a copy of them to me and we will
put them up on the website. hale

Subject: RE: Copyright Policy

<<About the policy on copyright... >>

Yes, I think there are those that will alter to take things
out of context, and there are those who edit without a full
understanding of what was intended, so will sometimes
inadvertently mess up some of the context.

Our copyright laws permit quoting of portions of
copyrighted material, so that will never be fully prevented,
but your disclaimer will clarify our intent to those who
wish to submit and share with the others. Thanks for the
great work hosting this forum....

Fred Gillis

Subject: BIO: Gerald Chadderdon

I've been doing lapidary work for about 25 years, off and
on. I am a hobbiest, and most of my work is done on
material I have dug myself.

I made my basic work unit. It consists of a kneehole bench
with a vertical shaft that has a quick-mount fitting that
accepts a variety of 8 inch grinding and polishing discs in
a hole cut into the top center of the bench. Power is
transmitted to the shaft by a belt and pulley system driven
by a "washing machine" motor located inside the rear part of
the bench.

I have a number of drawers in the bench to store laps and
tools. The motor is two-speed and quite powerful. The discs
run true and I have installed a faceting head at the side
of the disc, although most of my work is done fashioning
cabs. I primarily use metal bonded diamond discs in my work.

I collected precious opal at the Spencer, Idaho mine for
years, and I have made some beautiful triplets from the

I live in Orlando, Fl and am a retired Materials Engineer.
I piloted B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-26 Martin Marauders
in WW2.

I would be glad to hear from any one about rock collecting
or lapidary work.

Welcome, Gerald! From your address, I'd guess we share
another hobby! hale

Subject: WTB: Cabbing Equipment


I'm in the market for a Grinder. I've been looking at
Graves CabMate. But the only thing is that this only comes
with 1 wheel. I'd like something small and portable like
this one but with two wheels.

I'm hoping I can get a Good Used one at a good price.

I will use it primarily for making Flintknapping (Arrowhead

Is there a place that sells used Lapidary Equipment on the
Internet? I haven't found one as of yet. Or where does one
find this type of thing?

I live in Dallas so the closer the better.



We would like to remind the readers of the LAPIDARY DIGEST
to be sure and order in plenty of time before Christmas.
The UPS pilots may be on strike and this will also clog up
ground shipments. Remember do not send credit card
information via the Internet. Call us on: 1 (800) 820-3612.


Subject: WTB: Switch for Highland Park Saw

I am looking for a switch for the model U Highland Park
Saw. The switch was made by Cutler Hammer and is no longer
being produced. I know that Diamond Pacific has a substitute
switch but some modifications must be made to align the
shutoff. Maybe I can get lucky with this plea.

Contact me off list.


Jack Seger
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